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Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy has told the European Parliament that his country is 'giving away its best people' in defense of Europe.
'These last few days I don’t know any more how to greet people. I cannot say have a good day or have a good night, because for some this is their last day,' he said. 'We are giving away our best people. Our strongest ones. The most value-based ones. Ukrainians are incredible.'
Zelenskyy - who yesterday confirmed he had signed a formal letter asking the EU to declare Ukraine a candidate country to join the union - urged the country's European allies to show their support, saying 'We have proven our strengths. We are exactly the same as you.'
Standing ovations for Ukraine’s President @ZelenskyyUa in the European Parliament after his speech. Right now MEPs discuss Ukraine’s application for the EU membership #StandWithUkraine pic.twitter.com/8tXWW58pwl— UkraineWorld (@ukraine_world) March 1, 2022
'So prove that you are with us,' he continued. 'Prove that you will not let us go. Prove that you indeed are Europeans and that life will win over death, and light will win over darkness.'
At one point in the speech, which came as it was reported that at least ten people had been killed in a missile attack on the centre of Ukraine's second-largest city Kharkiv, Zelenskyy's English translator grew emotional and struggled to hold back tears as he interpreted the president's words for the Council.
Zelenskyy also cited reports that children were among the civilians killed in Russian shelling and missile attacks, saying that the casualties suffered by Ukrainians were demonstrating to the rest of Europe 'the price of freedom.'
'We have a desire to see our children alive, I think it is a fair one. We are fighting for survival. We are fighting to be equal members of Europe,' he said.
The Ukrainian prime minister was met with a standing ovation by MEPs, many of whom arrived in the chamber with flags, banners and t-shirts displaying the Ukrainian flag and message of solidarity. In a speech given following Zelenskyy's address, the President of the European parliament, Roberta Mesola, told him: 'Mr President thank you for showing the world what it means to stand up. Thank you for reminding us about the dangers of complacency.'
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